Just how does the Dawn Phenomenon affect your blood sugar levels?
While we rest our body experiences several processes. One of the processes is exactly how the ‘dawn phenomenon’ takes place. The dawn phenomenon or ‘dawn effect’ describes the natural increase in blood glucose as a result of a rise of hormones that have been produced with the evening.
A lot of these are counter-regulatory hormones including epinephrine, cortisol as well as glucagon. These hormones jumpstart the procedure of transforming glycogen stores in the liver right into glucose which are launched right into the blood – a procedure professionals refer to as glycogenolysis.
The body might just need a very small amount of insulin when your body is in its deep sleep cycle, for instance between midnight and also 3 am. Then beginning at 3am to 8am the liver will certainly launch sugar to prepare the body for the day’s activities.
However, if insulin degrees have actually minimized to a really low level overnight, the body is now not efficient in properly maintaining blood glucose. For that reason, upon waking, having high degrees of blood sugar might become the norm.
If you’re diabetic this rise in your early morning blood sugar can present an issue. It might be caused by insulin resistance, which is a problem that makes the muscle cells not make use of the hormonal agent insulin like it should.
Not only that, but insulin resistance can negatively influence the ability of the liver to process, launch or store glucose in the blood, particularly during the night. Normally the liver consistently releases small amounts of sugar right into the blood, even if the individual hasn’t just consumed a snack or meal.
For type 2 diabetics, their liver is pushing extra sugar into the blood, more than what is really required during the night. Therefore, if their hormones are creating higher than normal blood sugar levels, the trouble is compounded by the liver, which is releasing additional sugar into the blood.
Unlike having raised blood sugar right when you’re eating or right after, high fasting blood glucose levels require more than just diet restrictions and exercise. It needs to be treated with medicine prescribed by a medical professional. Some diabetics go through high blood sugar in the morning because their medicine has actually decreased.
Exactly how to avoid the Dawn Phenomenon
- Make any necessary changes to medicines.
- See your medical professional to find out if your medicine needs adjusted or changed in any way.
- Ask your doctor about taking your medication at bedtime instead of dinnertime.
- Stay away from carbs before going to bed.
Something some diabetics have learned to do, is take their fast-acting insulin as soon as they get up. This helps them deal with the dawn phenomenon. For others it’s more helpful to exercise very first thing in the morning and help their system deal with any high blood sugar levels that way.
A Check You Can Do
So how do you find out if the high blood sugar you’re experiencing in the morning is the Dawn Phenomenon?
One way is to check your blood glucose levels early, between 3-5am. Keep a log of the readings for several days in a row. If you find out that the readings are low, then you’re probably dealing with something else called the Somogyi effect.
But, if your levels have been high when taking the records over several days and at the same time, then you probably are dealing with the dawn phenomenon.
An additional method to figure out whether the dawn phenomenon is taking place, is to check your blood sugar before bed, in the middle of the night, as well as once again in the morning. Some experts recommend you use a CGM or Continuous Glucose Monitoring System as an alternative to manual checking the blood sugar levels.
The Somogyi Effect and Your Blood Sugar Levels
Having high blood sugar in the morning is common. This is partially because of the hormone adjustments that happen in the body. If you’re not a diabetic, high blood sugar levels are usually not problematic because the higher blood sugar levels are being balanced by the increased insulin the body produces.
Also, blood sugar levels are higher in the morning to fuel the morning’s exertions, so if you are at all active you will need some of this stored energy.
However, people with diabetes, may have high blood sugar levels in the morning as their medications may be causing their blood sugar levels to become too low during the night. This can then predispose them to high blood sugar levels early in the morning – an effect known as the Somogyi Effect.
The Somogyi Effect Vs The Dawn Phenomenon
Now you might be saying to yourself how can that be? After all isn’t having high blood sugar levels in the morning called ‘the dawn phenomenon’? Let’s see how they are different yet give the same outcome.
The Somogyi effect is also referred to by some experts as rebound hyperglycemia. Compared to the dawn phenomenon, which is caused by the ‘natural’ processes that take place in the body, the Somogyi effect is a ‘man-made’ effect.
The Somogyi effect is an occurrence that can be prevented or even avoided if your diabetes is managed correctly.
What Causes The Somogyi Effect?
This effect may occur as a result of your blood glucose levels dropping too low during the night, thereby triggering the body to release hormones that help increase the levels of blood sugar – and this occurrence can be caused by taking too much insulin before you retire for bed.
It can also be caused by not having enough food ingested, as part of your evening snack. Another reason for the occurrence of the Somogyi effect to occur, is if the dosage administration of a long-acting insulin was taken just before bedtime, wasn’t the right dosage amount.
All these issues would cause the result of waking up with a high level of glucose in the blood.
How to Prevent and Manage the Somogyi Effect
When treating people who are experiencing the Somogyi effect, the health care professional’s main goal is to prevent hypoglycemia. Some ways to manage the Somogyi effect are the following:
- Make adjustments regarding the time of insulin administration.
- Make adjustments in the insulin dosage taken at bedtime.
- You may also ask your doctor if it is possible to change the type of insulin that you use.
- Remember to eat a snack when taking insulin in the evening.
- Make it a habit to exercise on a regular basis.
- Manage your stress levels and reduce as much as possible.